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And who was on the mound for the Yankees? Why, Garcia, of course, looking to deal a blow to his former team — and perhaps win the confidence of his current manager along the way.

Asked before the game if he thought facing the Twins might give Garcia extra motivation, Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said: “I sure hope so. I think that’s an interesting twist to this.”

And if there had been any regret on the part of Minnesota for prematurely trading away Garcia, his performance Monday night probably intensified it. Although he was again deprived of a victory — that went to David Robertson, who came in to get the final out of the sixth inning and pitch a clean seventh — Garcia pitched effectively in the Yankees’ 2-1 win in the first game of an important three-game series at Yankee Stadium.

“Jaime was just fabulous, an outstanding start on his part,” Girardi said after the game.

Just last week, Garcia was visibly angered when Girardi removed him in the fifth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Citi Field, depriving him of the chance to get his first win since that July 28 victory over the Athletics as a Twin. But on Monday night, he left the Yankee Stadium mound with his head up, having delivered five and two-thirds innings of quality pitching.

The game was tied at 1-1 at the time, but the single that Garcia allowed to Joe Mauer just before leaving the game was only the Twins’ fourth hit of the game. However, unlike last week, when he avoided making eye contact with Girardi while muttering to himself, Garcia nodded to Girardi, calmly handed the ball over and strode off the field to a warm ovation.

Garcia’s outing was notable, too, for the nine strikeouts he notched, including five in the first two innings. After he departed in the bottom of the sixth, the Yankees scratched out a run on singles from Chase Headley and Starlin Castro and a sacrifice fly by Todd Frazier.

That was enough for the victory. It gave the Yankees a five-game cushion ahead of the Twins in the wild-card race and moved the Yankees to within two and a half games of the American League East-leading Boston Red Sox, pending the outcome of their game against the Orioles in Baltimore late Monday.

“I didn’t get to know Jaime all that well,” Twins Manager Paul Molitor said before the game. “It’s just one of those things; I don’t know if I’ve ever been part of something so short-lived.”

Garcia baffled the Twins with his slider, which accounted for seven strikeouts, and probably kept himself in the game by inducing Twins catcher Jason Castro to rap into a double play to end the fifth.

The Yankees had to weather a white-knuckle eighth inning in which reliever Dellin Betances once again struggled with his control, loading the bases on a hit batter and two walks. Girardi replaced him with Aroldis Chapman, who quelled the threat with four pitches, all more than 100 miles per hour — a three-pitch strikeout of Mauer and a first-pitch fly ball by Byron Buxton.

Chapman then pitched a perfect ninth inning to earn his 19th save of the season.

“I wish I had his arm,” Robertson said of Chapman. “It’s unfair what he throws. Throwing like that and getting five outs, that could be a game-changer come playoff time.”

Although Girardi maintained that he trusted Garcia, and said there were no lingering resentments from his quick hook last Wednesday in Flushing, he got his bullpen up early on Monday. Chad Green began warming up when Garcia allowed two singles to start the fifth and Robertson quickly got ready to go into the game after Ehire Adrianza led off the sixth by lining out hard to Brett Gardner in left.

The Yankees had taken a 1-0 lead on a solo home run by Aaron Judge off Twins starter Ervin Santana in the first inning. It was Judge’s 44th homer of the season, which not only leads the American League but is the most hit by a Yankee in a single season since Alex Rodriguez hit 54 in 2007, when he won his third Most Valuable Player Award.

The Twins tied it in the fifth, partly because of Judge’s error in right field. His misplay of Eduardo Escobar’s single allowed Eddie Rosario, who had led off with a single, to advance to third, from where he scored on Robbie Grossman’s groundout.

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